Along 9th Avenue in downtown Calgary, Gulf Canada Square’s dark panes of glass often provide a large mirror that abstracts the traffic heading east on the one way road.
I watched traffic for a while, looking down from the 12th floor of Banker’s Hall, until this taxicab drove by distinctive and separated from the other vehicles in that moment. The slight curvatures of the glass did the real work to create this warp of a simple scene.
Usually I see old, distressed trucks like this one rusting away next to a barn. It was cool to see this fellow had his on the road. I’m sure the old Ford appreciated being taken out for a spin and put to work!
For those who are curious, I believe this is a 1956 F-100. The fender threw me for a bit but I think the owner just put on a replacement. Or else this is a different year – I’m not an expert. It’s a great looking truck whichever year it was made.
Throughout Asia, markets are a big part of daily life in a way very different from our malls. I romanticize them a bit when I’m touring through my memories of trips to and living in Thailand, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Myanmar. However, every time I return, I head straight for the nearest night market, food bazaar, or whatever to get a feel for the place and the people. Just about a year ago, I was in Mandalay in central Myanmar and in a bid to escape the afternoon heat, I lingered in this corridor set off to the side of a very large market in the city.
Just a really cool spot to spend a couple of hours. The kids were a ton of fun but pretty elusive – they welcomed me to take their picture but weren’t interested in staying still for even a fraction of a second. No worries, we shared some laughs and I had some really good tea from the lady with the pink food (but I didn’t give that one a try).
My wife and I took our kids to the Royal Tyrrell Museum last weekend. We had told them about the “Dinosaur Museum” before Christmas and it had taken on grand proportions within both of their imaginations. The museum did not disappoint as they were happy to complete two laps around the building. The museum is divided into numerous rooms with large and small displays working back and forth between small trilobites up to enormous full skeletons. We didn’t linger in any one spot for too long but there were two sets of very wide eyes (joined by two more pairs when the Dansereau cousins arrived in time for the 2nd lap). There is a lot of space in almost all of the rooms so we were able to let the kids tour freely without worrying about them careening into other visitors. From a lot of different perspectives, they designed this museum very well and continue to maintain it to a very high standard. With the purposeful lighting, the adept use of color throughout and the incredible creatures I give the Royal Tyrrell very high marks and have no reservations in offering the highest recommendation. With my parents joining us for the first tour through and the kids playing with their cousins on the next one, I had a bit of time to photograph not only them but some of the displays. I would love to go back after hours with a tripod and a decent chunk of time. There are many opportunities for creative compositions involving the beasts on display. I’ll have to give them a call and pitch the idea next time I’m heading out that way.
I was very impressed with the Royal Tyrrell Museum. It has incredible specimens, interactive displays for kids and for adults, really beautiful lighting throughout the rooms and you are able to dive pretty deep into the subject matter if you have the time and the interest.
Before Earth’s shadow started to march across the face of the moon last night, I photographed the full moon as it climbed above the trees in Redwood Meadows. You can see the mist around the moon and I was a little concerned that clouds and haze may obscure the visible signs of the direct alignment of the sun, Earth and moon. I didn’t know then that the clouds would largely stay clear or that I was in for a very interesting performance.
The solstice lunar eclipse started normally last night and I was out in the freezing cold photographing the progression towards totality.
Then, things started to get very strange… as the moon started racing around like an excited puppy.
I went to bed as the moon settled back down, slipping behind the Earth and into deep shadow.
I saw it looming large on the horizon this morning so it seems to have emerged from shadow and appears to be behaving predictably once more.
I enjoyed the lead up to the eclipse and the morning after was spectacular as well. The odd bit during the actual eclipse was very fun too although I’m still looking for a reasonable explanation.
Please note: the moon trails were created by moving the camera around slightly during longer exposures up to two seconds long. I wrote the story for a bit of fun not to be mistaken for an actual phenomenon observed.
The Travel Photographer of the Year awards have announced their shortlist and I have images in the hunt across three categories. The TPOTY is a major competition out of the UK so it is pretty exciting to have some of my work recognized to this stage.
The image of the monks on the bridge at sunset in Amarapura in Myanmar is one of three images that are in the running for the single shot category. The nuns at prayer and the lone fisherman are the other images that have been shortlisted in this category.
The following four images are finalists for the World in Motion portfolio category.
The last set is a really fun category to be shortlisted in. It is the New Talent category. The portfolio I entered was for Bagan in central Myanmar. The objective was to sell a location, a journey or an idea. From the TPOTY website: “Tell the story of a place, a destination, an experience, a journey, even a travel commodity, but sell it to us. Make us want to experience it. This category is for photographers looking to start a career in photography. Your images should give the judges a real sense of the place or travel experience and entice them too. This is your travel advert.” I tried to share the wonder of Bagan across the four images. It was an interesting exercise to cull through all of the photographs I made in Bagan and select four that provided a window into the people and the land.
With this competition’s international profile, there are many very high quality entries so it is exciting to have a range of work reach the final round. The winning images will be announced in the next couple of weeks so we’ll see what happens.
A neighbor has this lovely old hot rod that he’s brought up to show condition. He takes it out for a cruise now and then. Here is one of the photos I’ve made as he rolls past.
The blur is created by using a slow shutter speed on the camera and then panning with the car as it drives by. Here, the shutter is set to 1/8 seconds using a 300mm lens on my Canon 1D Mark III.
In this second image, I have softened edges in the image to play up the painterly quality of this motion blur. In Adobe Lightroom, I reduced the clarity to -84, set sharpening to 0, and adjusted noise reduction (luminance 100, detail 0 and contrast 0). A different look, I’m going to print both to see which I like more.
Bobbi and I had an amazing weekend on a retreat at a riverside paradise near Golden in British Columbia. Quantum Leaps is run by Annette Boelman and Brian Olynek and is a retreat centre in the Blaeberry Valley. Annette and Brian have created a haven for inner and outer reflection and discovery. They are generous, caring people and it was very special to share time with them. Our small group came together guided by Amarin on a series of explorations. On Saturday night, we built a huge fire collectively and then we walked on the coals in a Fire Walking Ceremony. It was one of those experiences that I am still thinking about a couple of days later and feels like a profound step towards a great part of the journey.
Note: Please click any image to open much larger on its own page.
Here our group is preparing for the fire walk as the fire burns down. I am so happy to have shared this experience with my Bobbi, looking over her shoulder in the photograph above.
Annette begins raking the fire
Sparks stream upwards while the flames profile Brian.
Boards we wrote on ignite over the embers
The fire, the tipi and a man
These are the coals we walked over!
Bobbi walking over the coals and then enjoying the feeling afterwards
That’s me staying focused…
… And then playing in the moment
The night sky beyond the fire
If you make the opportunity to walk on fire, you may find it very worthwhile. For the record, none of us had any burns and all enjoyed the night and the sharing. As far as the retreat, if you want to find time for yourself and those you want around you, Quantum Leaps is very highly recommended. When we left, the Kokanee salmon were just starting to run and will be driving upriver for the next month. Bald eagles were beginning to arrive, I saw a different one each morning perched in trees along the banks. A black bear didn’t find me but was out by one of the cabins and has been a regular visitor over the past few days joining deer and the occasional elk which also enjoy the grounds.
Right across Highway 22 from my house is the location of the annual Tsuu T’ina nation’s Rodeo and Pow Wow. What an incredible event to have in the Bragg Creek area.
Yesterday, I spent the day on the grounds photographing the Pow Wow Grand Entrance and then the evening’s rodeo events. The people working, competing, dancing and enjoying these events were great to talk to and extended great warmth and friendliness to me. I feel very honoured to have been able to enjoy these festivities with our local Tsuu T’ina band members and the people from other nations all across North America.
I will have more photo essays up but wanted to get a quick post up with images from the Grand Entrance. This ceremony sees all of the first nation people who are dancing in the Pow Wow enter into the Beaver Lodge. This is an large pyramid open all sides with a two tiered roof sloping upwards resembling a beaver lodge in a general sense. Moving in a steady procession, the center of the lodge is soon completely packed as men and women, boys and girls of all ages circle around the main column in the middle. Easily a couple of hundred dancers pulsed inside at the height of the ceremony.
They were carried onwards, dancing with little break for up to half an hour, by the drumming circles from different nations attending. The drums and accompanying singing was incredible, powerful and charged the atmosphere. It was a mesmerizing scene to be in, around and a part of.
Here are a few more images from my first look through the images I made (click on the photographs to see larger images).
As a footnote, Tsuu T’ina means beaver in their language although I do not yet know how they came to be called by the name. Much to learn about my neighbours across the road, I better find time to do so as I’m very interested.
Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou led a group of photographers to the Bar U Ranch historical site just west of Longview, Alberta. This was one of 1111 groups comprised of over 33,500 photographers participating in Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk. It was fun to be a part of the Bar U group and neat to be involved with such a huge international group.
I had not wandered through Bar U previously and was interested to see what subjects would pull my attention. The ranch is set up in the style of its heydays when it was one of the largest ranching operations in North America. That puts the time at roughly 1882 – 1925. There are period costumes, decorations, equipment and sundry items – all of which lend themselves easily to becoming a photograph.
I really enjoyed the walk, meeting some of the other photographers, sharing a laugh and scouring around for images to make.
Thanks to Samantha and Darwin for a smooth operation and a fun walk.
” Picture The Cure” is a not-for-profit community based organization whose mission is to raise the awareness, bring dedicated people together and honour cancer survivors and victims.
In Calgary, in association with The Camera Store, they held an auction at the end of June which included over 40 pieces of artwork. I contributed a framed 20×30 print of the Nuns at Prayer in Myanmar. Angelo Avlonitis, the owner of Art Country Canada in Bragg Creek, donated the glass and frame.
I am very happy to have been able to contribute to this very worthwhile project.
Evelyn Drake, the organizer who I worked with leading up to the event, is walking 60 km in The Calgary Weekend to End Women’s Cancer – I hope you have a great experience!